July 15, 2009

Philip Davies on Jewish knowledge of the Bible

From an essay by Philip Davies:

. . . A recent National Biblical Literacy Survey in the UK carried out by the Centre for Biblical Literacy Communication at St John’s College, Durham (http://www.dur.ac.uk/codec/about/cblc/) found that as few as 10 per cent of people understood the main characters in the Bible and their relevance. Figures such as Abraham and Joseph were unknown: hardly anyone could name even a few of the Ten Commandments. . . .

I know a lot of secular Jews . . . . Very few of them can demonstrate the degree of ignorance of the Bible that Christians do. For them, being Jewish means knowing the Bible, even if not accepting its religious authority. Secular Jews are nearly all proud to be Jewish and know that their Jewish identity is defined by the Bible. There is no equivalent commitment among Christians because they share no ethnic identity. . . .

(HT:  James Davila)

July 7, 2009

FTC to enforce disclosure in blogging

Practical ethics requires that a blogger disclose when he has received a gift or compensation from a firm that he subsequently blogs about.

For example, consider the case of a blogger recommending a book that he received as a gift from a publisher or an author; or a blogger selling a book and receives a kickback from an online bookseller; or a blogger promoting Bible software in exchange for a chance to receive a luxury leather Bible.  Such bloggers are ethically required to disclose the gift, kickback, or lottery chance.  To do otherwise would be to deceive the blogger’s readership, who otherwise would expect a disinterested opinion.

These ethical guidelines will soon be legally enforced in the US by the Federal Trade Commission.  The FTC’s guidelines are available here and it is expected to become final this summer.

Deborah Yao of the AP writes:  “It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online. The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer — and getting commissions for any sales from it — would be enough to trigger oversight.”

(By the way, this blog does not receive compensation or commissions from any posts that it makes.  This blog does not receive free books or other gifts that it subsequently blogs about.)

July 6, 2009

Codex Sinaiticus

From Arts Beat  (quick summary – much of the Codex Sinaiticus published at codexsinaiticus.org):

The pages of a Bible more than 1,600 years old have been published on the Internet, The Associated Press reported. Nearly 800 pages from the Codex Sinaiticus, a Christian Bible dating to the 4th century, written in Greek and containing the oldest complete copy of the New Testament, were posted Monday at the Web site codexsinaiticus.org, coinciding with a conference on the book at the British Library in London. The original manuscript, containing about 1,460 pages written on prepared animal skin, was discovered in 1844 at the Monastery of St. Catherine, a Greek Orthodox shrine in the Sinai Peninsula, by the German Bible scholar Constantine Tischendorf. Its pages were split among Britain, Egypt, Russia and Germany. Scholars from the four nations worked on the restoration of the Bible, which also includes substantial portions of the Old Testament and Apocrypha. Forty-three pages of the manuscript are at the University Library in Leipzig, Germany, and six fragments are at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.